Wiktionary talk:About Anglo-Norman

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Deletion of Category:Anglo-Norman Old French[edit]

See Category talk:Anglo-Norman Old French. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:14, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Early and late spellings[edit]

I'm far from an expert, but I've added notes on Anglo-Norman spellings. Wikipedia doesn't mention it, so I'll have to find some sort of other source. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:27, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Difference between Old French and Anglo-Norman[edit]

For future editors, and certainly it would be nice to have some, we don't really know what the difference between the two is. Some relevant information:

Relevant information seems to be "once spoken in the United Kingdom", while Old French was spoken in "France and Belgium". Therefore, the primary distinction on Wiktionary is geographical. Works written in France are Old French, works written in the UK are Anglo-Norman. While there are spelling differences, Old French spelling varies so much these are hard to pin down to more than 'guidelines'. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:06, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

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You may know it already, but have you seen the very good online Anglo-Norman dico here? It saw me through most of my Marie de France reading (which to me certainly seemed distinct from standard Old French, although there is obviously plenty of overlap). Ƿidsiþ 16:33, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

No, never seen it. Marie de France definitely uses different spelling norms to say, Chrétien de Troyes, but I find them mutually intelligible. If that makes sense. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:39, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Oh, for sure. I think of it like English and Scots. Ƿidsiþ 16:44, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

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I'm a bit confused about this. How can we say xno is derived from fro....when the former is attested earlier? It seems to me the two languages represent cognate branches (albeit in slightly different time periods) of one dialect continuum, rather than being in any position of descendance to each other. Ƿidsiþ 11:58, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

The basic theory is that Anglo-Norman developed from Old French, which started in 842, whereas Anglo-Norman is more like 1040 (slightly before the Norman invasion AFAIK). But again, I almost never know what to do with these. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:02, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
I've never heard that "basic theory". Who says that? Ƿidsiþ 12:12, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
From a bit of reading, basically. To put it another way, which bit of what I said do you think is wrong? PS try this to start with. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:14, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
What I think is that we should be very careful of attributing etymological lines of descent in two languages which were co-existant. The problem is compounded by the fact that there is a lot of early Anglo-Norman writing and rather little in Old French, so even if we suspect that Anglo-Norman is a "development" of something in standard continental Old French it can be hard to prove it. I understand xno as developing from something like Old Norman (what the OED used to call Old Northern French), although obviously there was always a lot of interaction and these branches were not isolated. Nevertheless I think xno is rarely a "development" of standard Old French, but rather usually a development of some unattested northern form(s) of Old French. My head hurts. Ƿidsiþ 12:34, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
There is one even more dubious solution - to start a vote to merge Anglo-Norman into Old French. I dislike the idea for two reasons.
  1. It has an ISO code xno
  2. We use it a lot in etymologies

The main advantages are

  1. All the books I've consulted seem to think that it is a dialect
  2. I can't find any solid way to tell the difference between the two. Generally I look for spelling difference. Avoir/aveir for example. But other than that, the author is not as important as the scribe. You could take a Marie de France text and 'translate' it into continental Old French, and visa versa. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:38, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
Well I came to Anglo-Norman through etymologies first, so I hate that idea because English words often took specific characteristics from xno forms which were not there in Old French. Many people do call it a dialect, but that's neither here nor there -- the difference between a dialect and a language is essentially arbitrary, and as long as there are Anglo-Norman dictionaries and an established body of Anglo-Norman literature, I think it's better to keep them separate. Ƿidsiþ 12:49, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
I just worked on taquet where the /k/ sound is from estaque, a "dialectal" Anglo-Norman of Old French estache (estachier > attacher > to attach), I was missing the code for Anglo-Norman so here we have it... thx for the conversation. --Diligent 13:26, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
Again though, the Trésor which the entry references says nothing about Anglo-Norman, it just says "a Norman variant of Old French". So it doesn't come from Anglo-Norman -- it comes from the same source as Anglo-Norman, namely whatever northern variety of Old French was being spoken round those parts. Ƿidsiþ 13:34, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
I doubt it's really as accurate as all that. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:43, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, as you know ONF. doesn't have an ISO code. I find the assumption that Old French turns into Anglo-Norman the minute that it hits England a bit weird. Surely it takes a bit of time to diverge. Essentially it's just a mess and I see no way of sorting it out other than just POV. Mglovesfun (talk) 09:51, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
No but that's the whole point -- it IS completely arbitrary. There are no historical dividing lines between these languages - Anglo-Norman is just what we decide to call the Norman/French language when it starts being used by native British writers. Of course in reality the transition was gradual and complicated, but hopefully most of the texts can be roughly assigned to one dialect group or another. Language names are very vague labels, they were never supposed to be applied scientifically to distinguish between one text or another like this. In 12th century France there were different kinds of French being spoken in literally every village, it's only looking back we make generalisations of different dialect groups for the sake of convenience. When you're interested in literature from a time when languages were diverging, you're going to face this categorisation problem a lot. (This is why I find "Middle English" such a difficult label -- the divide between that and modern English is even more illusory than with French, because there is a constant stream of literature produced through the whole period.) Ƿidsiþ 16:48, 23 February 2010 (UTC)


How about a concrete example, instead of pure theory. How about this then, is it Old French, Anglo-Norman, or both? How do you tell? Mglovesfun (talk) 15:00, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

  • It's both. You tell because it's used both by Anglo-Norman scribes working in Britain, and also by writers working in Old French on the continent. Ƿidsiþ 15:15, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Diacritics in Anglo-Norman[edit]

I wanted to quote the following passage of a Google Books scan of Le Roman de Rou, page vi (the introductory passages):

A ce sujet, on nous reprochera, peut-être d'avoir multiplié les accens : mais en cela, fidèle au système d'aider le plus possible à la lettre, déjà fort difficile à comprendre, nous les avons placés suivant les règles établies maintenant.


On this subject, some will chastise us, perhaps, for having increased the number of accents in the poem. However, this is is faithful to the system of helping to understand the text, already very difficult to understand, we've added the accents according to the rules now used in French.

Mglovesfun (talk) 11:36, 19 August 2011 (UTC)